The former prime minister and president of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe have died, aged 95. The country’s first leader post-independence, Mugabe had been ill for some time and was being treated in a hospital in Singapore.
His near 40-year leadership of the former British colony was marked with bloodshed, persecution of political opponents and vote-rigging on a large scale.
Current President Emmerson Mnangagwa confirmed the death, calling Mr Mugabe a “pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people”.
He said: “Cde Mugabe was an icon of liberation, a pan-Africanist who dedicated his life to the emancipation and empowerment of his people. His contribution to the history of our nation and continent will never be forgotten. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”
Born in then-Rhodesia, Mr Mugabe co-founded the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) in 1963, a resistance movement against British colonial rule.
He became prime minister in 1980 of the new Republic of Zimbabwe and assumed the role of president seven years later.
In 2000 he led a campaign to evict white farmers from their land, which was given to black Zimbabweans and led to famine.
Mugabe retained a strong grip on power, through controversial elections, until he was forced to resign in November 2017, at age 93.
Mr Mugabe, who had been the world’s oldest head of state at 93, was replaced by Mr Mnangagwa, who had recently been fired as Mr Mugabe’s vice-president.